Longtime, now departing CNCC board member Wymore won’t be going far
Lois Wymore has seen it all.
When you ask her what aspects of Colorado Northwestern Community College she has been a part of, she starts listing and does not stop. Honestly, she admits, she does not remember all of the committees and groups she has been on. If it exists or has ever existed at CNCC in Craig, Wymore said she was most likely part of it at some point.
For decades, Wymore has impacted and worked to improve campus life in Craig with various acts of service to the community. That will end in an official capacity this coming January, when her term on the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College Board ends.
Taking a sip of decaf coffee, Wymore said that CNCC can’t get rid of her that easily.
“I’m excited,” she said. “Because, sometimes, new is good, you know? It’s time for somebody else to put in their few years, to pay attention (and) to follow money, but as a citizen — and because it’s been my passion forever — I can’t just walk away right now.”
The days of her service to the Craig campus began in the early 1980s. A petition was floating around the community to gather interest in creating a board at the Craig campus. A board for the college and a mill levy meant free tuition for the community. Wymore agreed, thinking that free tuition in the community was necessary, and the rest is history.
“There was a vote, and somebody asked me if I would pass a petition around my neighborhood, so I walked,” Wymore said. “I said ‘We need to do this. This is cool. This means everybody can take classes.’ That was my first experience, and that passed with flying colors.”
Since then, CNCC has received three mills from property taxes in the community. As time passed, Wymore also wanted to take advantage of the free tuition. She was a student representative to the foundation of the college and took at least three years of classes with the offer of free tuition.
“I got invited to be in this displaced homemakers thing,” she said. “And if I went basically to counseling once a month, they would pay for my books, and I thought, ‘Oh, you mean if I go and (talk) with people once a month, I’ll get free books? Now, I can do that.’ That, to me, was just a fun experience.”
After three years of classes, a seat on the college’s board opened. After a season of campaigning, Wymore said she won by only 12 votes — many of which she credits to the town of Dinosaur, where she was the only candidate who campaigned.
“Since the first class I took, I’ve always thought I was a positive spokesman for CNCC,” Wymore said.
She does not shy away from expressing her opinions about anything. There’s no need to sugarcoat, Wymore said, and she does not want to leave anyone with questions about certain decisions or her feelings.
Wymore stays skeptical of new leadership — especially administrators who tend to bring a more traditional view of academia toward what Wymore says is a nontraditional campus. Over the course of the last three decades, she’s seen administrators come and go, and not all of them have left the school better than they found it, she said. She notes a particularly dark time, when 149 people left CNCC in just four years. It’s her goal to make sure this never happens again.
“It was just administrative stupidity. It should have never happened,” Wymore said. “We lost so much intellectual talent. We’ve lost people that had years of history. With me going off the board, I’m probably one of the last that really knows the history. There’s a few others that hung in there.”
To Wymore, education is everything. She thinks a community college should represent the population it serves, and that taxpayers should have a say in what programs should exist there. Career-technical education — like automotive skills, electrician work and allied health — is a focus of hers. That’s why she’s sticking around on the sidelines.
“We’ll see what happens, but I am optimistic,” Wymore said. “I would hate to see it go, but I’m still going to watch them for a year. If they don’t move forward — because we’ve got to stop spinning downward — then should we, as a county, be spending mills? If our opinion doesn’t count, if what we want here doesn’t count, then perhaps we shouldn’t support it as the taxpayers. So that’s the reason I’m staying involved — just because I’m not above killing the mill.”
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